(21 May 2013) – 94% of bathing sites in the European Union meet minimum standards for water quality, according to the European Environment Agency’s annual report on bathing water quality in Europe. Water quality is excellent at 78% of sites and almost 2% more sites meet the minimum requirements compared to last year’s report.
Cyprus and Luxembourg stand out with all listed bathing sites achieving excellent water quality. Eight other countries have excellent quality values above the EU average: Malta (97%), Croatia (95%), Greece (93%), Germany (88%), Portugal (87%), Italy (85%), Finland (83%) and Spain (83%).
Every year, the European Environment Agency (EEA) compiles bathing water data gathered by local authorities at more than 22 000 sites across the 27 European Union Member States, Croatia and Switzerland, and measuring levels of bacteria from sewage and livestock. More than two thirds of sites are coastal beaches, with rivers and lakes making up the remainder.
Each annual report is based on data from the previous bathing season, so this year’s report is a compilation of data gathered in summer 2012. In spite of the general improvement, this year’s report reveals that almost 2% of bathing sites at beaches, lakes and rivers have poor water quality. The highest proportions of non-compliant bathing sites were in Belgium (12%), the Netherlands (7%) and the United Kingdom (6%). Some of these beaches had to be closed during the 2012 season.